Not many life experiences are as traumatic as losing a limb. Unfortunately, millions of Americans have some form of amputation. Depending on the nature of the amputation, the loss of a limb can impact your ability to move or even work.
If you are no longer able to work following an amputation, you may be eligible for Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits. Before pursuing disability benefits, however, you need to start by understanding whether the amputation amounts to a disability per SSA standards.
Qualifying for disability benefits following an amputation
The Social Security Authority (SSA) does not look into how you lost your limb – whether through a condition like diabetes or an accident. Rather, it looks at how the amputation impacted your ability to work.
To be deemed disabled and, thus, eligible for SSD benefits, your amputation must meet the following criteria:
- Amputation that is at or above the ankle on one or both legs
- Amputation that is at or above the ankle on one leg and at or above the wrist on one hand
- Amputation that is at or above the wrist on both hands
- Amputation of one leg that is done at the hip (hip disarticulation)
- Amputation that is done at the pelvic (hemipelvectomy)
If you undergo hemipelvectomy, two-wrist disarticulations, hip disarticulation or amputation of both arms, then you will automatically qualify for disability benefits. For this, the SSA will only need copies of your surgical records and medical records.
Protecting your rights
An amputation can impact various aspects of your life. The SSA defines the conditions that you must meet to qualify for disability benefits. Understanding the SSA’s criteria for assessing disabilities that result from amputations can help you protect your rights while presenting your case for benefits.